One-Minute Mindfulness Exercises (2022)

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Not enough time in your schedule for a lengthy mindfulness practice? You can get started with these simple 1-minute exercises.

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Beginning the practice of mindfulness can feel daunting at first, but starting small with 1-minute exercises can make mindfulness very doable.

The more regularly you practice any-length exercise, the more mindfulness will be a part of your everyday life. Then, you can reap the rewards of living more mindfully.

Mindfulness, simply put, is paying attention to the here and now.

Well-known mindfulness teacher Jon Kabat-Zinn defines mindfulness in his book “Mindfulness for Beginners” as “awareness, cultivated by paying attention in a sustained and particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally.”

The practice of mindfulness involves two types of meditation:

(Video) One Minute Mindfulness Exercise

  • Traditional meditation: You sit undisturbed and pay attention to your breath and body.
  • Activity meditation: You focus your attention while doing daily activities like walking or washing dishes.

The short answer is yes, you can.

Think of a 1-minute mindfulness exercise like the brakes in your car. The important thing is that you stop — not so much the length of your stop. You may find yourself looking forward to putting the brakes on your high-speed life with one of these 1-minute breathers.

Research in 2019 suggests that regular meditation of a short duration can have similar health benefits as meditations of longer duration and higher intensity.

Regular daily practice seems to be more important than the length of your practice.

As you begin stopping for 1 minute a couple of times a day, you may soon find yourself expanding your practice to several times, or even 5 or 6 times, a day.

Soon, mindfulness will be a daily practice that comes naturally.

Mindfulness exercises you can do in 1 minute

(Video) Headspace | Mini Meditation | Let Go of Stress

There are a number of ways you can practice mindfulness in just 1 minute.

Just sit

This is a basic meditation that could become the cornerstone of your mindfulness practice. It’s easy to learn and is designed to be done in as little as 1 minute.

You can try the below version, provided by the Center for Healthy Living at Kaiser Permanente. Their PDF flyer even has pictures of steps you can print out.

  1. Sit up straight, but not stiffly, in a chair with your feet flat on the ground.
  2. Place your hands in a balanced position and close your eyes.
  3. Focus on your breathing, as you follow each breath in and out.
  4. After 1 minute (or longer), gradually open your eyes and resume activities.

Quick tip: The sands of time

To help you keep up your 1-minute meditation practice, try keeping a 1-minute hourglass timer on your desk or your bedside table.

Anytime you see something that draws your interest, like how the light plays on the wall or the sound of a bird outside, just turn the timer upside down.

Focus on your breath along with what you see, hear, or feel for 1 minute.

Walking meditation

You can start doing this meditation for 1 minute as you walk from the kitchen to the living room, or from your home to your car. Later, you might expand walking meditations to include part or all of a daily walk.

(Video) 1-Minute Meditation

This version of a walking meditation comes from the Buddhist mindfulness teacher Thich Nhat Hanh’s book “Happiness: Essential Mindfulness Practices.”

  1. As you begin walking, pay attention to each step.
  2. Notice how many steps you take during each inhale and exhale, and at the speed you’re walking. Pay attention to your lungs, and do not force your breathing or the number of steps you take.
  3. Match your steps to your breath. For example, as you breathe in, count 1-2-3 steps. As you breathe out, count 1-2-3 steps. Let your lungs and feet come to a happy equilibrium.
  4. As you walk, you may wish to say a phrase that approximates the rhythm of your walking. Thich Nhat Hanh suggests: “With each step, a gentle wind blows.”

Waking up

The first moments of waking are a wonderful time to practice mindfulness to greet the day:

  1. Arrange your body in a comfortable position.
  2. Stretch and let your attention scan your body quickly.
  3. Pay attention to how each part of your body feels.
  4. Follow several cycles of inhales and exhales for 1 minute.

Free-range meditation

“Free-range meditation” is a term from the book “Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics” by Dan Harris, Jeff Warren, and Carlye Adler. It refers to co-opting daily activities for your meditation practice.

They use the example of a shower:

  1. Pay attention to the action of turning faucets, standing under the spray, putting on soap.
  2. Feel the warm water, trying to feel each individual stream.
  3. Switch to cooler water for a couple of seconds, then back to warm water.
  4. Keep your attention on the present. If your thoughts wander, gently bring them back.
  5. Keep doing this for a minute to start, and you may eventually extend it to include the entire shower, and drying off as well!

You can do free-range meditation with any of your daily activities — brushing your teeth, washing dishes, drinking coffee, and even having a conversation with your spouse or friend.

Box breathing

This is a great exercise to do whenever you’re waiting, for example:

  • on hold on the phone
  • at a traffic light
  • in the doctor’s office

It’s a highly structured type of breathing exercise that requires your full attention.

You breathe in specific counts, while visualizing a box:

  1. Inhale to the count of 4 as you visualize the top edge of a box.
  2. Hold your breath for a count of 4, as you go down along the right side.
  3. Exhale for a count of 4, moving from right to left along the bottom edge.
  4. Hold for another count of 4, going up along the left side, back to the top.
  5. Repeat for several cycles for at least 1 minute.

If you’d like to try a guided demonstration, view the video Box Breathing – 1 minute in length by Conscious Works on YouTube.

Passing through a door

This exercise comes from pediatrician Jan Chozen Bays’ book of mindfulness exercises: “How to Train a Wild Elephant.” She calls it Entering New Spaces.

It helps us learn to leave and enter rooms, cars, houses — anything with a door — mindfully.

“Before you walk through a door, pause, even for a second, and take one breath,” she writes. “Be aware of the differences you might feel in each new space you enter.”

(Video) Rainbow Relaxation: Mindfulness for Children

She also advises mindful attention to how we close the door behind us before entering the new environment. “We often move immediately into a new space without finishing up with the old one, forgetting to close the door or letting it slam shut,” she points out.

A 1-minute mindfulness exercise is an opportunity to pause and reset your mind and body. It can also be your gateway to a regular mindfulness practice.

Guided meditations are often a good place to start. You might consider some of the following resources:

  • Apps like Calm, Headspace, and Insight Timer offer guided meditations of varying lengths.
  • Online mindfulness courses are available, often for free, from Coursera.
  • Plum Village, a global community of mindfulness practitioners, offers exercises to stream or download.

Want to share mindfulness with your kids?

FAQs

Is 1 minute meditation enough? ›

A one-minute meditation for beginners or a short meditation for sleep is a great jumping-off point. If you can find one minute in your day, most days, you can start a meditation practice. One minute is better than nothing, but more is best. Start with one minute per day and build it into a longer practice.

How many minutes a day should you practice mindfulness? ›

Mindfulness-based clinical interventions such as Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) typically recommend practicing meditation for 40-45 minutes per day. The Transcendental Meditation (TM) tradition often recommends 20 minutes, twice daily.

How can I clear my mind in 1 minute? ›

Find a comfortable seated position, whether you are in your home, office, outdoors, or even sitting in your parked car. Then, close your eyes and focus on your breathing. Breath control in a 1-minute meditation is quite beneficial because of the immediate cognitive connection, which creates a calmer state of mind.

What does the one minute mindfulness based exercise acronym STOP stand for? ›

S — Stop, or pause. T — Take a breath. O — Observe the body, thoughts, feelings, emotions, and physical sensations. P — Proceed with more awareness. S.T.O.P. is an informal mindfulness practice that allows us to take a breath and check in to see how we're doing.

Is 2 minutes meditation enough? ›

Gratitude meditation has been linked to better mental health and emotional regulation, and other studies have shown that meditation can improve your ability to cope with stressful circumstances. Even better, experts have suggested that the optimal amount of time for meditation each day is five to 10 minutes.

How much meditation is enough? ›

The above research implies that 13 minutes of meditation per session is enough to reap benefits. Still, regularity may be just as important. Practicing for 13 minutes once every few months isn't likely to yield as many benefits as practicing daily for 5 minutes.

Is meditation 5 minutes enough? ›

Research has shown that just five minutes of meditation a day is enough to help clear the mind, improve mood, boost brain function, reduce stress, slow down the ageing process and support a healthy metabolism. Some days you may have more time, and other days you may have less.

How many times a day should I practice mindfulness? ›

Take 10. A daily practice will provide the most benefits. It can be 10 minutes per day, however, 20 minutes twice a day is often recommended for maximum benefit.

Is 10 minutes meditation enough? ›

If you're a beginner and looking to reduce stress, then 10 minutes should be enough. However, if you're looking to focus more on calmness and increased concentration, then up to 30 minutes might be better as you'll have time for some light stretches as well as breathing techniques.

How do I shut my brain off for anxiety? ›

Mental over-activity is a big problem for many people, but there are some helpful techniques that might aid in quieting things down at night.
  1. Give yourself some mental and physical wind-down time. ...
  2. Don't worry in bed. ...
  3. Focus on mental imagery. ...
  4. Separate productive worry from unproductive worry.

How do I calm my overthinking thoughts? ›

How to stop overthinking
  1. Take some deep breaths. Close your eyes and breathe in and out slowly. ...
  2. Find a distraction. Distractions help us forget what is troubling us. ...
  3. Look at the big picture. ...
  4. Acknowledge your successes. ...
  5. Embrace your fears. ...
  6. Start journaling. ...
  7. Live in the present moment. ...
  8. Ask for help.
21 Apr 2022

How do you use the STOP method? ›

STOP acronym stands for:
  1. S: Stop. Whatever you're doing, just pause momentarily.
  2. T: Take a breath. Re-connect with your breath. The breath is an anchor to the present moment.
  3. O: Observe. Notice what is happening. What is happening inside you, and outside of you? ...
  4. P: Proceed. Continue doing what you were doing.
18 Jun 2014

How do you pause your brain? ›

We look at simple techniques to relieve stress and give your brain a break. During high stress, we may feel our minds racing with ruminating thoughts.
...
Let's recap
  1. journaling.
  2. exercise.
  3. meditation.
  4. reducing stressful stimuli.
  5. eating a nutritious diet.
  6. breathing exercises.
  7. muscle relaxation.
  8. grounding exercises.

What does stop stand for in therapy? ›

The STOP skill stands for stop, take a step back, observe, and proceed mindfully. It is helpful to think of what we would do when approaching a stop sign to remember this acronym.

Is 3 minutes meditation enough? ›

Why a three-minute meditation is optimal. "I really think it's important to start with a bite-size approach," says Oula. "In that three minutes, you actually allow your system to reset." By beginning with three minutes of mediation a day, she says, your body begins to learn that this is the time where you just sit.

How long does meditation take to change your brain? ›

Previous studies have reported that MBSR, which involves 24-30 hours of meditation practice over two months, led to an increase in gray matter density—a measure of the amount of cortical grey matter in a given area — and gray matter volume—the total size of the grey matter— in several brain areas including the ...

Can too much meditation be harmful? ›

Meditation and mindfulness can cause some negative side effects in some who practice. In a new study, 6% of participants who practiced mindfulness reported negative side effects that lasted for more than a month. These effects can disrupt social relationships, sense of self, and physical health.

How do I know if meditation is working? ›

8 Signs of Progress in Meditation
  1. You feel more motivated. ...
  2. You are sleeping better. ...
  3. You got this! ...
  4. You stop comparing your practice. ...
  5. You are less stressed. ...
  6. You have more room in your mind. ...
  7. Meditation isn't something you have to do – you look forward to it. ...
  8. You realize you don't need a dark room and scented candles.

Can I meditate lying down? ›

You can meditate lying down any time you'd like to. What's important in meditation posture is to find a pose you can hold comfortably for a long period of time. There are certain types of meditation where lying down may even be preferred. We explore when and how you should lie down to meditate.

How do I know if Im meditating correctly? ›

One of the first signs that you're meditating correctly is a sense of heightened awareness. This simply means that you become more aware of your surroundings, and of your own thoughts and feelings. You may notice things that you've never noticed before, or start to pay attention to things that you normally wouldn't.

How do you meditate in one minute? ›

One Minute Guided Meditation | MedBridge - YouTube

Is 5 minute meditation enough? ›

Research has shown that just five minutes of meditation a day is enough to help clear the mind, improve mood, boost brain function, reduce stress, slow down the ageing process and support a healthy metabolism. Some days you may have more time, and other days you may have less.

Is meditating once a week enough? ›

You are likely to perceive the benefits of a well-crafted yoga and meditation class after as little as one session. With long sessions, you do not have to practice daily for real results. Most of my students think that one session a week gives them benefit.

What is the difference between mindfulness and meditation? ›

Mindfulness is a quality; meditation is a practice

While Kabat-Zinn's definition describes a way of relating to oneself and one's environment, Walsh and Shapiro define a formal practice meant to alter or enhance one's state of mind.

What is an example of a mindfulness activity? ›

For more structured mindfulness exercises, such as body scan meditation or sitting meditation, you'll need to set aside time when you can be in a quiet place without distractions or interruptions. You might choose to practice this type of exercise early in the morning before you begin your daily routine.

What is minute mindfulness? ›

A one minute mindfulness exercise is anything you can do in 60 seconds or less to center yourself, ground yourself, and pull yourself into present awareness. These routines are brief, but help you incorporate the principles of mindfulness into your life — especially when you're short on time.

Is 3 minutes meditation enough? ›

Why a three-minute meditation is optimal. "I really think it's important to start with a bite-size approach," says Oula. "In that three minutes, you actually allow your system to reset." By beginning with three minutes of mediation a day, she says, your body begins to learn that this is the time where you just sit.

How long should you meditate to see results? ›

Although it is not an exact science, the consensus seems that to see benefits from meditation, you should aim for at least 10 minutes a day at a minimum. However, each person will respond differently, so it's important to test out longer meditation periods if 10 minutes does not seem to be making a difference for you.

Is 3 minutes of meditation a day enough? ›

Setting aside as little as three minutes a day can help you stay cool when everyone around you is losing it. For years the research results have been pouring in: Anxiety, depression, high blood pressure, and heart disease respond to meditation.

How can I clear my mind in 5 minutes? ›

Here's a simple writing exercise that will help you clear your mind in less than 5 minutes. Close your eyes and take 5 deep breaths through your nose.
...
Open your eyes, and write down the answers to the following questions:
  1. What is on my mind right now?
  2. How do I feel about it?
  3. What do I want to let go of?
14 Jan 2016

Can I meditate lying down? ›

You can meditate lying down any time you'd like to. What's important in meditation posture is to find a pose you can hold comfortably for a long period of time. There are certain types of meditation where lying down may even be preferred. We explore when and how you should lie down to meditate.

How do I know if meditation is working? ›

8 Signs of Progress in Meditation
  1. You feel more motivated. ...
  2. You are sleeping better. ...
  3. You got this! ...
  4. You stop comparing your practice. ...
  5. You are less stressed. ...
  6. You have more room in your mind. ...
  7. Meditation isn't something you have to do – you look forward to it. ...
  8. You realize you don't need a dark room and scented candles.

How do I know if Im meditating correctly? ›

One of the first signs that you're meditating correctly is a sense of heightened awareness. This simply means that you become more aware of your surroundings, and of your own thoughts and feelings. You may notice things that you've never noticed before, or start to pay attention to things that you normally wouldn't.

What happens if you meditate everyday? ›

Daily meditation can help you perform better at work! Research found that meditation helps increase your focus and attention and improves your ability to multitask. Meditation helps clear our minds and focus on the present moment – which gives you a huge productivity boost. Lowers risk of depression.

Videos

1. Mindfulness Breathing Practice (1 Minute) | Breathing Exercises | Breathing Techniques
(Human Longevity)
2. Mindful Minute: Quick Mindfulness Meditation Exercise for Kids by GoZen!
(gozenonline)
3. 1 Minute Breathing Exercise| Mini Meditation | Simple Breathing Exercise | One Minute Breathe Bubble
(Calm Sage)
4. One Minute Guided Meditation | MedBridge
(MedBridge)
5. 5-Minute Meditation You Can Do Anywhere
(Goodful)
6. Mindful Minute Mindful Eyes
(Beech Acres)

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